THEhails from the Far East, where it has been in cultivation for more than 2,000 years. It was brought to Britain at the close of the eighteenth century, but many years passed before an appreciable number of varieties was developed, and, as far as the outdoor or border varieties are concerned, it was not until the present century that real progress was made. The most exciting developments have taken place in the last 20 or 30 years, and at present there are hundreds of distinct varieties, and many more are being added ever year.
New varieties are obtained by cross-pollination or as a result of natural sporting by which a plant may produce flowers of a different colour or form from the normal crop.
Sports do sometimes occur even in an amateur’s collection.